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New university to take a district off CU

Calcutta, Aug. 19: A new university will be set up about 25km north of the city to relieve Calcutta University of the burden of governing 180 undergraduate colleges.

The new institution will be spread across 39 acres at Jagannathpur, off the Barrackpore-Barasat Road, in North 24-Parganas. All 57 colleges in the district will gradually change their affiliation from CU to the new university.

“We allocated money for the project in this year’s budget. We expect to start construction of the building once we get the land,” finance minister Asim Dasgupta said after a meeting in Barasat today attended by higher education minister Sudarshan Ray Chaudhuri and the CU vice-chancellor among others.

Dasgupta added that Rs 15 crore would be released in phases to build the university.

The same amount would be sanctioned for another new university in Malda.

The North 24-Parganas administration has started acquiring land for the university at Jagannathpur, around 4km from Barrackpore station.

“We are purchasing land from an abandoned brick field and are in talks with other landowners,” said Aparna Gupta, the zilla parishad chief.

The higher education minister told The Telegraph that many people were “willing to give their land for the new centre of learning”.

Officials said the finance department has sanctioned Rs 6 crore to meet the initial expenses.

CU senate and undergraduate council members from North 24-Parganas, pro vice-chancellor, academic affairs, Suranjan Das and college teachers and senior district officials were also present at the Rabindra Bhavan meeting.

“The new university will lessen the burden on CU and create a healthy academic atmosphere,” the higher education minister said.

Five colleges, Ray Chaudhuri added without identifying them, would come under the new university straightaway. “The remaining 52 in North 24-Parganas will be gradually brought under the new university.”

It will offer postgraduate courses in traditional subjects and also emerging ones such as biotechnology and molecular biology.

CU pro vice-chancellor Das said the need was to strike a “fine balance between conventional and emerging subjects”.

The new university will not only take away CU’s burden, but also help the state increase the number of postgraduate seats. “Only 9 per cent of our graduates go into higher education now, against the 15 per cent in many other developing countries,” Das said.

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